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Wasting Connects to send a message

Ace Contributor
Josh P Member Since: Aug 20, 2013
1 of 13

I know this might be considered foolish (and some of you will have no shame in pointing this out; that's fine), but I just couldn't scroll past one more job asking for the moon and offering $5 for it, without doing "something" about it.


I "wasted" a couple of connects just to send a message to the client.  I sent it by way of submitting a proposal, in the usual fashion, with the only difference being that I explained that while the opportunity looked interesting, the budget did not appear to match the job listing.  As such, I proposed $150 per project instead of the $5 per project they listed, to give them a better idea of what a professional expects to see.


Perhaps this is a waste, as I've already said, but perhaps the client will re-think their bottom-of-the-barrel-scraping ways and instead make an effort to offer freelancers, not just myself, a more reasonable wage for such stipulated requests.


Besides, this offered some sense of release for me.  Wading through 99 pathetically low-wage jobs just to find the one offering decent compensation (not great) with reasonable expectations, and against 10-50 competing freelancers already applied, is in and of itself work that requires at least a minimum amount just to cover the time it takes to source, read, and apply to said job.


Many clients make me laugh (because getting angry won't fix anything) at how much they demand and how little they are willing to offer for it.  It would be great if Upwork implemented some sort of standard for clients to follow where they are not allowed to offer what equates to a fraction of minimum wage while expecting executive quality work.


Rant over.

Community Guru
Michael S Member Since: Aug 29, 2017
2 of 13

It's pretty pointless, I'll agree. But moreso the way you go about it, not submitting the proposal itself.


I see plenty of jobs that want a ton of work for a bare minimum of payment. Rather than point out how low the rate is (which can be seen as adversarial, thus putting the potential client on the defensive from the outset), I simply submit my proposal as I would any other, and bid what I would normally charge for such a job.


There are plenty of times when they put in $5 simply because they don't know what a fair price for a job would be, and leave that because they have to enter something. One of two things will happen after this.


1. They get bids for the actual cost of such work, and hire from there.

2. They get a bunch of bottom-feeders, pick one of those, regret it, and learn their lesson for the future.


There's the occasional 3rd option of "They don't care how crappy the bottom feeder is because they're outsourcing and the quality doesn't matter to them", but I like to think they're not that prevalent. But in any case, the client learns, and the lesson sticks because it's from their own experience, rather than someone coming at them with "You're offering too little. Here's what you should really be paying."


Sure, they probably still won't hire you, but there's always the chance that they will. I've bid over budget on projects and still been hired, and they worked out fine. The ones I don't get, I never worry about past clicking "submit" on the proposal.


In all my proposals, I've only ever had one come back at me with any kind of attitude. I simply bid what I knew the job was worth, and they sent me a message accusing me of being on drugs. Then I replied to them with a polite and concise explanation of the costs, to which they accused me of being on drugs yet again. This was followed by them being blocked and reported for unprofessional conduct.

Community Guru
Rene K Member Since: Jul 10, 2014
3 of 13

I've posted at least one $5 job. The reason is that you simply cannot leave this field empty and $5 is the minimal amount that goes in there.  When you have no idea about the cost, you put $5.


I'm totally unhappy with the fact that Upwork makes this field mandatory, but I would be POed if a freelancer sent a proposal just to school me about the fact that I shouldn't put $5 into this field, while what I was waiting for was proposals from people able to suggest a solution and a price.


For this job, I hired one person for $50. It took him one hour to do the Linux hocus-pocus that I needed to be done.


Some freelancers are totally obsessed with low rate jobs instead of just ignoring them and focusing on earning money. While many of those jobs are good laughing material, I don't see the need to spend two connects to talk to the clients about their rates.

"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless
Community Guru
Richard W Member Since: Jun 22, 2017
4 of 13

Rene, I filter out jobs under $100, and I guess I'm not the only one. So a $5 place-holder might not be such a good idea. I've seen a couple of $1,000,000 place-holders. That might work better! I replied to one of them, and offered to do the job for the bargain price of $500,000. I can't understand why I didn't get a reply.


Josh, I "wasted" 2 connects by replying to a job with the description "TBA". My text consisted of just "Proposal TBA". I thought that was perfectly reasonable, but I didn't get a reply from that one either.


I once replied to a $5 fixed price invitation, and ended up regretting it. Judging by his hiring history, the client really meant $5, but I was annoyed that he'd ignored my profile rate, so I replied, pointing out that my hourly rate was $30 (at that time), and he was welcome to get ino touch again if he was willing to pay that. To my great surprise, he replied that he was. I still didn't really want to do the job for him, but I felt kind of obliged now that I'd stated my condition and he'd agreed. So I did a one-hour job for $30. It went OK, but I got my first ever poor review, for being too expensive (and maybe for my attitude, which I must admit was a bit off-hand). Since then I've been much more inclined to turn down jobs I have any qualms about.

Community Guru
Luce N Member Since: Oct 9, 2016
5 of 13

Josh, I think you've done the right thing.


When I have connects to spare, I do use them to tell clients what I think they should be told. If we were many to do so, we might see less foolishness on this platform.


I'm aware that $5 is the minimum you can enter, but in that case, decent clients usually add that the price is a place-holder.

Ace Contributor
Josh P Member Since: Aug 20, 2013
6 of 13

To add some clarity:

-I did not have an attitude in my proposal, but rather addressed their needs and explained that, even though the job showed $5 as a budget, for such work, $150 would be more appropriate.

-The job poster has a history of $5 jobs, many for essentially the same job over and over, but always with different freelancers (indicating they are abusing new freelancers desperate to get feedback of any kind, even if it means working for beans).

-The job poster specified they want only freelancers located in the US, but their job was clearly targeted at people from extremely low cost of living countries.

-I did not really want to get the job, and I knew (hoped) they would decline, but since I am particular about which jobs I submit proposals for, I have plenty of Connects to spare.

-I am about as far opposite from obsessed with low-wage jobs as it gets.  On the contrary, I spend great amounts of time trying to find the one job out of a hundred that pays a fair wage for the work requested/demanded (as I indicated in my original post).

-Filtering jobs only does so much good, and can do some bad as well.  There are many job that have an estimated budget of $100, or $500, and at first glance, appear worthwhile, but upon review, still work out to some measly amount considering the job description and should really be offering more like $1000 or $5000 for the work (I do understand negotiating, but it takes two to tango).

Rene, I'm not sure if you were indicating I am one of those obsessed with low-paying jobs, or if you were just making a statement in general about other freelancers, but I would like to give you the benefit of the doubt here, if you'll please clarify.

Community Guru
Rene K Member Since: Jul 10, 2014
7 of 13

@Josh P wrote:

Rene, I'm not sure if you were indicating I am one of those obsessed with low-paying jobs, or if you were just making a statement in general about other freelancers, but I would like to give you the benefit of the doubt here, if you'll please clarify.

Mine was a general observation since many do not realize the fact that $5 is the minimum amount allowed, that it is mandatory and that people sometimes have no clue about the cost of a task. Unless a client is obviously cheap, like the one you described, there is little to say just from the sole budget.


That being said, a client who is cheap and who acts like the one you described does not deserve the time you spent talking to her or to him.

"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless
Community Guru
Phyllis G Member Since: Sep 8, 2016
8 of 13

Knowing the budget field is mandatory and many clients use random figures as placeholders, I only consider the number posted in the context of numerous other factors I use to sniff out viable opportunities. I submit a proposal for any project that seems to fit (definitely or possibly) in my wheelhouse. If the posting contains sufficient specs, I provide a budget and state clearly my understanding of the scope of work and schedule. If the posting is too vague, then I also make it clear my quote is a placeholder, and clearly pose the questions that need to be answered to pin down a budget. Like most other successful FLs here, I then click 'submit proposal' and forget it. If the client responds, I can usually tell immediately--especially in cases where I had to use a placeholder budget and ask questions--whether or not it's a good fit. Do they come back with answers to my questions, questions of their own, and a reasonable attitude about budget and schedule? If not, then I usually take a pass. 


Invitations are another matter. Those are what I sometimes let irk me and I will, from time to time, include a note in my 'decline' response letting them know they are wasting their own time and mine, and why. But as far as I'm concerned, I could also open the window and address the flower bed, with equal result.


Community Guru
Kathy T Member Since: Jul 17, 2015
9 of 13

Josh P - If a job shows a budget of $5 I do one of 2 things, If the job is interesting enough then I submit a proposal . Or.  I just move on. Why waste time and connects to "lecture" a client about their low budget. If the job was interesting and fit  your skills, you could have put in a proposal and listed what the client would receive. You could put in a basic, general price and then list other options the client can receive. That puts the ball in their court, either just wanting the basic, or adding onto that.


As others have said, something HAS to be put in that field. $5 could just be a placeholder. Or that $5 could be the actual budget. You might feel that this client is taking advantage of other freelancers, but that's only if other freelancers let themselves be taken advantage of. If you look at many of those low paying jobs, you'll see in excess of 50 and more freelancers bidding for it. 

Community Guru
Sergio S Member Since: Dec 19, 2017
10 of 13

I mostly don't look at $5 jobs anymore, not only because that budget doesn't appeal to me but because those jobs receive 20-50 proposals in a snap making yours be disregarded, so to me applying there is pointless. But once in a blue moon I see jobs with that price that I find interesting because of the way they are written, when they put an effort to explain exactly what they need I really appreciate that, and when I sense they are worthwhile and I have connects to spare I send a proposal with my quote, not lecturing, but explaining my numbers. There was a case where I really wanted to help that client because he/she seemed so innocent that could become a scammer's victim at any time. The client was asking for something so incredibly difficult that would take a Hollywood studio to do the job, something that was clearly imposible to do by a freelancer at home, even by an agency. I sensed he/she was going to hire someone and get frustrated. So maybe I wasted 2 connects but it made me feel I did the right thing helping that person somehow.